With the signing of a tripartite memorandum of understanding among the Khorasan Razavi Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Department, the Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center of the province, and Iran’s Windmills Cultural Heritage Site, a step forward has been taken on the path of the world registration of Nashtifan Windmills in Khorasan Razavi Province, according to the northeastern province’s cultural heritage department.
On the sidelines of the signing meeting on Sunday, the head of Khorasan Razavi Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Department, Seyyed Javad Mousavi, said that in the field of cultural heritage and agricultural tourism, greater attention has been paid to agricultural tools, while more attention should be paid to agricultural culture and heritage, IRNA reported.
According to Mousavi, scientific and research cooperation and entrepreneurship in the field of windmills are among the major topics of the tripartite memorandum of understanding.
He described agricultural heritage as an opportunity for the development of tourism in the northeastern province.
Mousavi considered the establishment of the Wheat Museum to be among the first steps taken for deriving benefits from the cultural capacities of the region, adding that the museum introduces part of the region’s agricultural heritage to tourists and enthusiasts.
Windmills or asbads are one of the most significant architectural structures in the desert regions of Iran, which convert the kinetic energy of air (wind) into other forms of energy.
Located on the arid and windswept plains of northeastern Iran, the town of Nashtifan (in Khaf County) is keeping ancient traditions alive amid the winds of change. The town is home to some of the earliest windmills in the world.
Out of a total of 107 asbads in Khaf County, 36 are in Nashtifan, of which six windmills are still in use and grind wheat.
In 2002, the windmills were recognized as a National Heritage Site by Iran.
Also, on the sidelines of the meeting, the head of the Khorasan Razavi Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, Reza Aqnoum, said that a part of the culture, traditions and types of wheat produced and consumed by the people of the region are exhibited to visitors through documentation in the Wheat Museum.
An amiable custodian, Ali Mohammad E’tebari, serves as the last keeper of the ancient tradition. Now elderly, E’tebari has dedicated his life to keeping the town’s historic windmills turning. As the last survivor of the Nashtifan Windmills, his name was added to UNESCO’s list of Living Human Treasures two years ago.
Each of the windmills of Nashtifan is comprised of eight chambers, with each chamber housing six blades. As the area’s strong, steady wind enters the chambers it turns the blades, which then turn grindstones.